What makes HOLYCHILD so distinct? Well, it’s a couple of things. Without hearing the group’s music, you’d first notice their eclectic style — shy they are certainly not. Band members Liz Nistico and Louie Diller, who first met and formed the project in college, barely broke a sweat in their retro, 70s disco-inspired outfits before their performance at the Toyota tent on Saturday at Lollapalooza.
“I’m really into fashion and I think I always come around to, like, get obsessed with things,” said Nistico. “So right now, my current obsession is futuristic western disco. That’s what I want everything to feel like. A few months ago, it was futuristic western sport, but now I’ve moved on.” But the group is more than just aesthetics. For one, they make really fantastic music. On their debut album, The Shape of Brat Pop to Come, the group crafted a playful collection of tracks that invoke the spirit of riot grrrl and playground jump rope rhymes in equal measure. The album was a true labor of love and the culmination of years of trial and error. They began writing songs four years ago and production took about a year and a half to complete. “But it was worth it. I don’t regret taking our time with it,” Diller said.
Their music quickly found an audience, even landing an inclusion in an Apple commercial. They’ve described their sound as “brat pop,” and the description is not completely off. Although it might seem like an insult, the description is pleasant and accurate. Tracks like “Running Behind” are childlike and full of wonder. They even have a track called “Barbie Nation.”
However, like any great group, their music is layered in ways that might not come across on the surface. There’s a cheerful giddiness to each track’s construction and production, but that doesn’t mean that they are bad tracks. Subject matters they’ve touched upon include the power of dreaming and the power of love. And the inspiration for these lyrics derive from interesting places. Dreams are one of the biggest forces for Nistico’s songwriting. At least three of the songs on their debut album came to her in dreams. “I just think about [dreams] a lot until I understand the meaning. Who knows what symbol means to one person versus somebody else when you read them?” Nistico asked. “I’m into those things more as a self-reflective thing. If somebody says you’re going to do this, how do you take it and use it to guide you.”
In fact, before their performance, Nistico had a dream about Kid Cudi, who also performed at the festival and whose dressing room was right next to the group’s dressing room. “Oh my God, it was crazy. It was an epic dream,” she said about the peculiar, multi-part nocturnal adventure. Audiences will have to wait to hear if this dream results in a new track. Until then, The Shape of Brat Pop to Come will continue to play on rotation for eager fans. “I don’t know. I couldn’t be more grateful that people are listening to our art and our music and have good things to say about it,” Nistico said.